Page 1: Introduction
Primark is a subsidiary company of the ABF (Associated British Foods) Group. The company was launched in 1969 in Ireland trading as Penny's. By 2000, there were over 100 stores across Britain and Ireland. By 2012 Primark had 238 branches across the UK, Ireland and Europe. Primark has become distinctive for offering unbeatable value whilst never losing its innovative, fashion-driven edge.
Like many retail fashion businesses, Primark does not manufacture goods itself. Its expertise lies in understanding its customers and working with its suppliers to produce goods to Primark’s specification. It then gets the right goods to the right places at the right prices. Its profitability depends on sheer volume of sales. Primark's value-for-money prices rely on low costs. These are achieved in part through economies of scale and efficient distribution.
Primark’s products are mainly sourced from suppliers in Europe and Asia. Its key sourcing countries are China, India, Bangladesh and Turkey. Putting the manufacturing of garments into these countries creates jobs. These are often at better rates of pay than other types of work on offer, improving overall standards of living.
Corporate social responsibility
Primark has initiated a programme of activities which supports its corporate social responsibility (CSR) stance and ensures that its trading meets the company’s values and ethical standards. Underpinning its programme of activities is Primark’s Code of Conduct which ensures that all workers making its products are treated decently, paid a fair wage and work in good working conditions. For more information please visit www.primark-ethicaltrade.co.uk
This case study looks at Primark’s involvement in the HERproject (Health Enables Returns) which is raising awareness and delivering healthcare education to female workers in supplier countries.